Doubts about 'Novichoks'
McKeigue, Paul; Robinson, Piershttp://syriapropagandamedia.org/working-papers/doubts-about-novichoks
Date Written: 01/05/2018
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX22221
Briefing notes developed from ongoing research and investigation into the use of chemical and biological weapons during the 2011-present war in Syria conducted by members of the "Working Group on Syria, Media and Propaganda".
The history of the alleged "Novichok" programme remains unclear. The original source for the story that a new class of organophosphate compounds was developed as chemical weapons under the name Novichok in the Soviet Union during the 1970s and 1980s is from Vil Mirzayanov, a defector in the 1990s. Mirzayanov described the chemical structures of these compounds and stated that the toxicity of an agent named Novichuk-5" under optimal conditions exceeds the effectiveness of VX by five to eight times". Mirzayanov alleged that Russian testing and production had continued after signing the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1993.
However, a review by Dr Robin Black, who was until recently head of the detection laboratory at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Porton Down), emphasizes that there is no independent confirmation of Mirzayanov's claims about the chemical properties of these compounds